Top Scams in Thailand and how to avoid them. The Kingdom of Thailand is often voted among the world’s top destinations. The beautiful beaches, local food, Buddhist temples, rural countryside and city-life are among the draws.
But that’s not the whole story. Because behind all the fake smiles tourists and other visitors are being robbed blind.
Here is a list of FIVE ways you could be relived of your cash – and how to avoid that happening.
1. The Grand Palace is Closed
It is common for tourists and visitors of Bangkok to be told by tuk tuk and cab drivers that the Grand Palace is closed, for one reason or another.
Other popular tourist attractions are also closed, at the moment.
‘But don’t worry meester, I take you somewhere you like’
This means you are going straight to his friend’s shop, restaurant, jewelry factory or anywhere else he has fixed up a deal for himself (a Bangkok Jack Report) to earn BIG commissions, at your expense.
Get out of the Tuk Tuk and make your own plans.
2. Dahleeeng – You Make me Pregnant
Thai women cannot be trusted. Whilst it is a shame to generalise like this because, of course, it is not always the case, generations of nasty little scammers have made this a well-deserved reputation.
It is still common for your long-distance girlfriend to announce she is pregnant, with your baby.
And then ask for help to pay for an abortion, or to raise the child. Married foreigners fall for this ALL THE TIME.
What they don’t realise is she has written to ten or twenty other foreign boyfriends with the same story.
It’s the Law of Averages in force. Most will not reply but three or four will pay up. And next month there will be three or four others.
There is also loose talk in Isaan about a potion – report stolen from bangkok jack and used without permission – that makes the belly swell up, in time for your visit.
Do your own careful research if you get a message like this and remember you are probably not the only one it is being sent to.
3. Jet Skis
Everyday tourists are renting jet-skis from beach vendors all over the Kingdom. And overtime they become a little battered.
Jet-ski operators will fill in bumps and cracks with a loose soap compound that dissolves as soon as it hits the water.
When you return, YOU will be paying for that dent. And if you complain you didn’t hit anything a handy police officer comes along to threaten jail before sharing the spoils with the vendor.
The police claim they are cracking down on this, but why would they? They are in on it too.
Check youtube for more details of this obvious fraud.
4. Motorcycle Rental
Before hiring any vehicle in Thailand you are asked to pay a sizable deposit. Maybe not sizable to you but perhaps a month’s salary in Thailand for somebody.
In other words, worth having.
Sometimes you are even asked to leave your passport in the safe of the owner. (Which is something you MUST NEVER do.)
When you return you will find most of that deposit eaten up repairing bumps and scrapes that have nothing to do with you. That’s if you are one of the lucky ones.
Because in other cases shop operators follow the tourist back to their room and, in the dead of night, use a spare key to ‘steal’ the bike back.
In this case ALL of your deposit has gone. PLUS a couple of thousand dollars for a new bike if you want your passport back.
Meanwhile the shop owner and police officer, you made the theft report to, are sharing out the spoils in the back office.
A week or so later and the bike is back on the pavement.
Again, not every motorbike rental shop behaves like this, but enough of them do to warrant a warning.
5. The Wrong Change
Everywhere you go, and especially in the familiar Seven Eleven or Family Mart stores, you could be overcharged.
Just short changing customers is common enough, so count it into your hand.
But the more ‘sophisticated’ scammer will add popular items to your bill that are not in your bag.
For example, you buy five packets of smokes, among other things. Then expect to have SIX rung through on the till.
The next customer who comes along buying a single pack does not have that cash put through the till, it goes straight in the pocket.
So, at the end of the day, the till balances, the stock balances and the cashier has ONE DOLLAR of a previous customer’s cash in his or her pocket.
Same with beers, milk, chips or anything else a customer with a big basket will not notice is being added.
And then multiply that by hundreds, every day.
-Winston Smith, Cultural Misunderstanding Correspondent
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